Thursday, July 17, 2014

Middle School Attacks

It's like middle school never ended. Those are hard years -- sixth, seventh, eighth grade. It can start earlier, but middle school is infamous for being a place where kids hone their cruelty skills. Cliques form or tighten. If you don't look right, life can be miserable. Too tall, too short, fat, skinny. Your acne is bad, or you don't even need a bra when other girls are wearing a C cup. Or you matured early and got unwanted attention from boys who pointed and told jokes at your expense.

If you're honest, maybe you have to admit that occasionally you joined in the attacks on others to mask your insecurity.

Our culture is like never-ending middle school. Only it's more sophisticated when you're an adult. Sleek magazines tell you that you could be beautiful if you only bought this or that. It can be more complicated, especially if you appear to be overweight. Sit down to eat a burger in public and strangers glare at you, as if to say, "For goodness' sake, have a salad."

I've caught myself thinking the same things. But what do I know about that woman's life? What if that burger is a rare treat? What if she's been to doctors who can't figure out why she can't lose weight? More to the point, maybe I should mind my own business.

I need to stop criticizing when I don't know the facts. Forces in the media are already piling on. I don't want to be part of that clique. Maybe I should graduate from middle school.

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